Festivities kicked off at full tilt on Tuesday 8th with the Spook School and I'm fantastically glad to have finally seen them live. Outstanding songs, great fun sound, noisy, tuneful, wistful, melancholy all at the same time and I can only see them getting better; surely destined for big things. I must say that it is particularly enjoyable to hear some strong scottish accents in a young band as well!!
Next up (and I can only assume this lineup was taken from my dreams) came Tender Trap who were utterly outstanding in playing a set which I felt to be somehow strangely emotional throughout. Perhaps it's the normal state for them and just a sudden realisation for me because I have never seen Amelia Fletcher performing from quite such close range before... Memorabilia in particular was just something else, extraordinarily intense. Someone in the room must have been crying. An astonishingly good performance.
Allo Darlin' performed headline duties for the first night. With Elizabeth Morris very nearly coming straight to the gig off the back of a flight from Australia one might have expected, and certainly not been disappointed, if the band were a little rusty. That couldn't have been further from the reality of what followed and now stands as my favourite Allo Darlin' gig, which is saying something. Elizabeth seemed to be living every word of every song, almost like an entire story was being played out on the stage. Following on from Tender Trap, it also seemed a peculiarly emotional set where an hour had suddenly passed in the blink of an eye and we found ourselves in three song encore. The whole band are simply astonishing together with the maturity and talent to take every song in a thousand different directions while still staying true to what makes each one so perfect in the first place. I simply can't believe that they won't make it seriously big very very soon. An utterly mesmerising set by undoubtedly the best band anywhere right now.
I had originally planned to post about all four nights in one go, which is why I waited until the end rather than doing them after each night, but have decided to do them semi separately anyway...so more to follow!
It's safe to say that the remaining nine bands had an awful lot to live up to after such a spectacular opening...